Malaysian Bar: AGC has tarnished its reputation and credibility following Zahid’s DNAA

THE Malaysian Bar has made clear its feelings on the recent discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) on the 47 corruption charges against Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi pertaining to funds related to Yayasan Akalbudi.

In a statement, its president, Karen Cheah Yee Lynn said:

“The Malaysian Bar is perturbed over the recent withdrawal by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar of all 47 charges faced by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) DS Zahid upon receiving instructions from then-Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun pursuant to Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution and section 254 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.”

“The Malaysian Bar asserts that the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has tarnished its own reputation and credibility as the prosecuting party and that of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as the investigating body when it applied for a DNAA at such a late juncture after a prima facie has already been established by the previous lead DPP.”

The AGC had said via a media statement on Tuesday (Sept 5) that the decision to drop charges against Zahid who is also UMNO’s president was based on “cogent” reasons that were “given and accepted by the court” without further elaborating what those reasons were.

The Malaysian Bar retorted by stating the AGC’s media statement was “devoid of proper justifications” as the move gave the court no choice but to grant Zahid either a DNAA or a full acquittal.

“It, therefore, rings hollow for the AGC to wholly attribute the withdrawal of the case to the High Court and use that as a reason in the media statement, instead of providing a detailed explanation,” contended Cheah.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Pic credit: Bernama)

Timing factor

The Malaysian Bar also questioned the timing of early retirement as well as extension of tenures of certain key players in the trial that has led to public dissatisfaction.

It observed that on Aug 8, previous lead DPP Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran was reported to have requested for an early retirement since April 3 April and therefore, could no longer lead the prosecution for Zahid’s trial.

Following this, Idrus who officially retired on Wednesday (Sept 6) was reported to have said at that juncture that Raja Rozela would be on leave prior to her retirement starting from Aug 30.

“To further put it in context, it is also known that the current MACC’s chief commissioner tenure was extended for another year on May 10 May 2023 whereas Idrus Harun’s tenure was also extended for another six months from March 6.

“These dates, development of events, and actors in play, fuel much of the uproar by the public,” contended Cheah.

The statement also claims that the Malaysia Bar had constantly applied pressure on the government of the day to revamp the structure within the AGC whereby there is real separation between the roles of the AG and the public prosecutor.

This is to ensure that the public prosecutor is free to carry out duties without executive interference which is vital in maintaining public trust in the judicial process.

“The Zahid Hamidi’s case has shown all of us that it is increasingly urgent that pivotal changes must take place by 2024 so that our criminal justice system is strengthened to remove prospects and/or appearance of bias in the way politicians are being charged, and in the way charges against them are being withdrawn,” added Cheah. – Sept 8, 2023

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